Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Epigenomic abnormalities predict patient survival in non-Hodgkins lymphoma

Date:
January 10, 2013
Source:
University of Colorado Denver
Summary:
"Not only do we see more abnormal methylation in non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients than in healthy B-cell populations, but there are three distinct subtypes of the disease in the clinic, each more aggressive than the next. These three clinical trajectories of non-Hodgkins lymphoma were distinctly marked by their levels of abnormal methylation," says a CU Cancer Center investigator.

Think of the epigenome like a giant musical mixing board, turning up or down the expression of various genes. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published January 11 in the journal PLoS Genetics shows that in cancer, not only can genes themselves go bad, but abnormal changes in the epigenetic mixing board can unfortunately change the expression of these genes. Researchers hope to play the role of sound engineers, controlling these harmful epigenomic changes to turn down cancer itself or perhaps sensitize cancers to existing drugs.

Related Articles


The epigenome's primary tool -- and by far the easiest to study -- is methylation: it attaches little methyl groups to DNA sequences near the genes to silence or promote their expression.

"Not only do we see more abnormal methylation in non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients than in healthy B-cell populations, but there are three distinct subtypes of the disease in the clinic, each more aggressive than the next. These three clinical trajectories of non-Hodgkins lymphoma were distinctly marked by their levels of abnormal methylation," says Subhajyoti De, PhD, CU Cancer Center investigator and assistant professor at the CU School of Medicine.

In other words, methylation patterns predict patient survival. Here's how it works:

DNA should be methylated in a consistent way -- you get a certain, standardized amount of methyl "residue" attached to your genes. Sure enough, that's the case in healthy B-cells. Subhajyoti and colleagues show that in cancerous B-cells, the level of DNA methylation from cell to cell varies wildly. And the more wildly the level of DNA methylation varies, the more aggressive is the cancer. It's as if, in the body, you want a consistent epigenome that maintains the methylation of the healthy status quo -when a willy-nilly epigenome drops methylation randomly here and there, it promotes non-normal cells, like cancer.

So abnormal methylation is certainly correlated with not only cancer, but with the aggressive behaviors of cancer subtypes. But what exactly is the functional role of this methylation?

"We think that in addition to genetic mutations that cause cancer, epigenetic changes probably play a subtle role that allows the cancer to thrive within our body," Subhajyoti says.

There are drugs that affect the epigenome's ability to methylate and so control genes -- some of which crescendo or decrescendo the amount of methylation across the board, and some of which affect the amount of methylation on certain genetic products. Does one of these drugs hold the key to muting cancer?

Subhajyoti hopes to find out.

"For the last 50 years, the scientific community pushed to identify the genetic drivers of cancer, but now in the past five or six years we've expanded the search into the epigenome as well," Subhajyoti says. "We now expect to find that both genetic and epigenetic abnormalities are important for initiation and maintenance of cancer."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Subhajyoti De, Rita Shaknovich, Markus Riester, Olivier Elemento, Huimin Geng, Matthias Kormaksson, Yanwen Jiang, Bruce Woolcock, Nathalie Johnson, Jose M. Polo, Leandro Cerchietti, Randy D. Gascoyne, Ari Melnick, Franziska Michor. Aberration in DNA Methylation in B-Cell Lymphomas Has a Complex Origin and Increases with Disease Severity. PLoS Genetics, 2013; 9 (1): e1003137 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003137

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Denver. "Epigenomic abnormalities predict patient survival in non-Hodgkins lymphoma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110212321.htm>.
University of Colorado Denver. (2013, January 10). Epigenomic abnormalities predict patient survival in non-Hodgkins lymphoma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110212321.htm
University of Colorado Denver. "Epigenomic abnormalities predict patient survival in non-Hodgkins lymphoma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110212321.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

AP (Oct. 31, 2014) Officials in the Washington area showed off Ebola response measures being taken at Dulles International Airport and the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins